How to install a Carpet

Carpet installation is one of the essential parts of home renovation. If not done fine, the entire ambience of your house may get tarnished with clumsiness. Unlike all the other home renovation projects, it takes more time and needs more precision. When you decide to Do-It-Yourself, a proper step-by-step guide is a must or you’ll mess it all up!

Below you have easy to follow steps, simply follow them and at the end of the project you’ll be left with most admirable looking interiors that will win you many accolades!


Where to start from

 Keep it simple. Take it easy. Start where it is easier. Any small living room or bedroom will do best. But make sure to pick a room that has a regular square or rectangular shape. A more complicated hexagonal, trapezium shaped area will need more efforts than otherwise. Surely, you won’t want to get all topsy-turvy with odd angles and curious seams!

Checking out the measurements 

That’s the first thing you got to do and also the fundamental one. Obviously, without the right measurements you can’t go even one step further. It is just like buying new clothes or window curtains– all need to fit in well. Without proper calculations you’ll get all things wrong. Simply calculate the piece which is generally done on the basis of its width that in most cases remain either 12 inches or 15 inches.

Of what type? 

Once you’ve picked the piece and measured your rooms, next thing to keep in mind is to decide on the type of installation. When it comes to residential applications, most people find it safer and more reliable to use an underpad below the floor covering and finally have it well secured with nail strips or tackless across the entire perimeter of the room. However, this depends on the kind of covering you have chosen. If it has a cushioned backing attached to it or it is a rubber-backed one, you won’t need any tackless at all. This is because these can easily be glued down directly or simply tucked up around the perimeter just with staples. In some cases, you can even leave them loose-laid without any bother!

Does the room already have baseboard? 

In case your room doesn’t have the baseboard moldings and you really want to have them there, don’t do it until you’re done with the floor covering part. Wondering why to postpone this task? It will get a more finished look to the room. Neat and smart, this is how the finishing will look like! You’ll be able to ensure that you haven’t left any gap between the rug and the baseboard.

But what in case you already have the baseboard moldings on the walls? 

In this case, the only thing that you can think of doing is to leave it in place. By doing this you’ll be left with enough room for tucking up the rug underneath. What about the gaps? If you aren’t using something that is too thick or is too thin, this won’t be an issue, so, better go for something in between.

Handling the Tackless

First things first, before you actually go handle the nail strips, answer this simple question. Is it for the first time that your floor is getting carpeted or it already had one and all that you’re doing is simply replacing it with a new one? If it is all new – a completely fresh start, not much to worry about. But in case, you are replacing the older one with a newer one, there are certain things you need to consider. In most instances when an older piece is replaced by a newer one, there are chances that you find the nail strips still in place. And if they are fine and there hasn’t been much damage, it is always advisable to reuse them. But if there has been a really massive kind of damage to them, there won’t be any other option but to replace the tackless also. This is where you need to be a bit cautious. Since there already had been the strips, when you place the newer one, you need to line it up with the older ones out there. However, at the same time, you’ll have to change the place where you’ll be hammering the nails into the floor. This is important for better grip as the older place will now have holes from the older set of nails making the grip loose.


What about an entirely unused – fresh and new place?

Nothing much, you’ll simply have to buy an entire set of tackless and get them fixed there. But a simple tip here is to make sure that while you do it around the perimeter of the room, make sure to do it about half inch from the wall and let the nails form an angle towards the walls.


Positioning the Underpad

Underpad is another important thing that you need to take care of. What to know about it? Not much, just a few things that often confuse people. First, why to use it at all? Second, which side you will place up and which side you’ll place down. And finally, what measurement is right?

They work like helmet on your head that you wear when you go biking! Simple, they reduce the wear and tear. Now, this isn’t the only reason. The other benefits include – better sound absorption (if your child is constantly jumping on the first floor, you won’t be much annoyed downstairs!), vacuuming gets easier,  the floor won’t be scratched by the rug and finally, it will give a softer, cushion like comfort to your feet.

When you’ll try feeling the underpad with your hands, you’ll find one side to have shiny and smooth surface compared to the other side or it. This smoother and shinier part is the upper part and you’ll have to place this on the upside. It is purposely made smoother or shinier so that your carpet can easily slide over it.  Now comes the measurement, it is usually of six inches but it can be bigger than that too, simply make sure that it is about two inches smaller than the carpet you have chosen. Sometimes they are sold in the standard size of 8 to 9 inches. If this is the only size available to you, ask the salesperson to cut it to make it smaller. Simply tell him the size of your floor covering and ask him to make the underpad just two inches smaller than that.

Wondering why keeping the size smaller?

Several reasons for this, however, some of the important ones are – it makes it easier for you to taper the edges of the rug to the floor; the chances of your shoe-heel getting stuck on the edge of the rug reduce and so does the possibility of your tripping over; it increases the life of your carpet as otherwise its edges can get curled up or worn out on being used constantly; and most importantly, this will keep the underpad hidden and no one will get to see if there is something beneath the rug!

Now comes its positioning. So, how you are going to place it? 

As you’ll have to keep its size shorter, there are chances that you’ll need to use it in more than one piece. You’ll have to roll it out making sure that it stays inside the edge of the tackless. It is important as it is never located over the tackless. Now, simply secure it around the perimeter as well as along the seams using staples. However, you’ll have to leave out an area of about 8 inches from the seams. Now if you are to place it over a wooden sub-floor, staples will do fine but in case you have a concrete sub-floor, they won’t work and you’ll have to use glue instead. The seams of the pad will also need fixing up and for this any industrial strength tape or duct tape will hold work fine.


The most important part: Installing Carpet!

Once you’re done with all the other fundamental installations, it is time for rolling out the carpet. So, just do that and while you do it, be sure that if it is slightly longer and has some excess part of it, simply keep that rolled up at the walls slightly. Once you’ve rolled it out to the entirety of your room, trim that extra part using a wall cutter/trimmer, any regular utility knife will also do fine. While you cut, leave out enough of it so that you can tuck it over the tackless and if you also have a baseboard, place it under it.

After you’ve done all these simpler little things, it is time for a difficult job to complete: it is time for stretching the carpet. This is not only a difficult job but also a most important one. If you don’t set it right, your floor covering will perform poorly as you’ll get it all buckled up at places.

The best way to make it fine is to use a power stretcher. You may not have it but you can always rent a one. Manual stretching involves using a knee kicker; it does work fine but only when you are strong enough to put in for getting better movement out. Yes, it requires a lot of strength indeed. This is why, it is more advisable to use a power stretcher in place of good old knee kicker. Anyway, the next important point is how to stretch it the right way. It may look easier and more fascinating to do it just along one wall as it can be done easily without spending a lot of time! Sadly, this won’t set the things right, so, you got to do is around the entire perimeter of the room. Here again, you’ll have to take care that the underpad doesn’t come up over the tackless. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, it is always better to place tape strips over the pad as well as on the tackless maintaining a regular interval so that pad is well held and well gripped at the time of carpet stretching through kicking over it.


The final touch: Seaming your rug

Seaming is essential, especially where you have to join two different pieces together. This is something inevitable, even if you don’t encounter such a thing in a smaller room or area, a bigger room or the doorway are likely enough to have you involved in this task. You can always rely on pressure-sensitive tapes as they don’t need any heat and without any fuss you get a fine hold. However, it isn’t very suitable for high traffic areas. For any high traffic area whether your living room or entrance hall, it is better to go for professional heat bond tape.  

Using a seaming tape isn’t that difficult a task if you stick to the instructions given on its box. At times, one just doesn’t have to worry much about the sealing part, but it depends on the kind of rug that you are using. Say, you have chosen a Berber for your high-traffic living room; you can’t leave it without sealing it well.

A finishing touch for the seam

Just the way your carpet installation requires a good final touch, its seam also need a finishing touch for better looks and professional appearance. The best way to have it done is to use a seam-roller to roll over it. When you have used two different pieces and have joined them together, this simple little action will blend the fibers from both the pieces into one unlined whole, giving it a smooth and professionally handled appearance. This will also remove any wrinkle of buckle left out after the stretching.